When the water outflow of an individual is higher than their water intake, they get dehydrated. Water is essential to our bodies for many different purposes, including temperature regulation through sweating, transporting nutrients to cells, joint lubrication and cushioning, and body waste elimination. Even minor dehydration can have detrimental impacts. When it comes to dehydration in aged adults, prevention is always better than cure.
Causes of Dehydration in Aged Adults
Dehydration in aged adults is not uncommon. Firstly, as they age, they may not feel thirsty as often, and do not realize that they should be drinking. An aged individual may simply lack a normal thirst response or the feeling of having a dry mouth. Additionally, aged adults with mobility issues may find getting up to find something to drink throughout the day a hassle. Taking the effort required to use the toilet into account, it is easy to see why aged adults may avoid drinking, even when thirsty. Dehydration can also be caused by incontinence issues or conditions with diarrhea or vomiting, and diuretics which result in increased sweating and urination.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
Knowing when an aged adult is dehydrated is not the easiest, but being able to recognize the warning signs are important, especially since dehydration can increase one’s risk for conditions including urinary tract infection, constipation, kidney stones, and respiratory tract infection.
Here are some signs of dehydration in aged adults:
- Dry and sticky mouth or nose
- Confusion, dizziness, or frequent headaches
- More visible mobility issues
- Decreased urine output or constipation
- Rapid heart rate and low blood pressure
- Sunken eyes and dry skin
- Decreased tear or sweat production
How To Prevent Dehydration
For aged adults with existing renal or cardiac-related health conditions, even minor dehydration can negatively impact their overall health. Our bodies are composed of around 60% water, the majority of which is stored in lean tissue. Aged adults have less lean tissue, and hence a smaller proportion of water in their body, which can quickly lead to dehydration caused by factors like hot weather or a fever. Most aged adults require 40 ounces of water, or eight five-ounce glasses daily.
Here are some ways to prevent dehydration:
- Your loved ones should be encouraged to drink often throughout the day. To remain on track, create a drinking schedule (drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning, drinking with every meal, for example). Keep a water bottle close at all times to avoid dealing with mobility issues. Limit water consumption before bedtime to alleviate any concerns regarding incontinence.
- Provide food with high water content like fruits and vegetables, soup, jello, and yogurt, which can help in meeting daily water requirements. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can have a diuretic effect if consumed in large quantities, leading to dehydration and a loss of bodily fluids.
- Find a beverage they enjoy. Those who do not enjoy the taste of plain water may find it easier to increase water intake with milk, fruit juices, and herbal tea.
Live Well and In Good Health at Conservatory At Plano
Conservatory At Plano offers an extensive range of lifestyle programs and amenities that emphasize residents’ health and wellness. Our team would be more than happy to schedule a tour and answer any questions you might have about life here.